BV Suresh (b. 1960)
Contemporary artist and educator, BV Suresh is known for his video art, sculptural installations, paintings and digital prints inspired by his personal experiences as well as social and political issues, especially the experiences of marginalised communities.
Suresh was born in Bengaluru and studied at the Ken School of Art, Bengaluru (1978), followed by a diploma in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), in 1985. At MSU, he was mentored by Gulammohammed Sheikh and closely observed the works of artists such as Nasreen Mohamedi, Jeram Patel, Bhupen Khakhar, Nilima Sheikh and Nalini Malani. He was awarded the Inlaks Scholarship in 1985, which enabled him to pursue postgraduate studies in painting from the Royal College of Art, London. After graduating in 1987, Suresh returned to India and taught at the painting department at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, from 1992–2017. In 2017, he became Head of the Department of Fine Arts at the Sarojini Naidu School of Art and Communication, University of Hyderabad, where he continues to teach to this day.
Influenced by the works of American artist RB Kitaj, Suresh’s early paintings were narratives created in response to violence and religious fundamentalism. In the late-1990s, Suresh transitioned to creating mixed-media assemblages and installations, and in 2001, he started working in the digital medium, creating video art such as The Tale of the Talking Face (2006) and single-channel animation videos such as Introspection (2001). Suresh often features animals such as the peacock and crocodile in his works, which stand in as metaphors for the themes of his works, such as violence and conflict. He has also used his art to highlight issues such as censorship, mob violence, marginalisation, the agrarian crisis and farmer suicides in India. In 2006, Suresh presented a large body of his work as a critical response to the 2002 Gujarat riots. Other notable works include his installation Canes of Wrath, which was shown at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018) and highlighted the political suppression in the country.
He was awarded the Grand Prize at the sixth Biennial of Contemporary Indian Art (1996) as well as the Karnataka State Lalit Kala Akademi Award and Scholarship (1983–84). Suresh’s works have been exhibited in India and internationally, including at the Tamarind Art Gallery, New York (2008); the Kong Art Fair (2009); Gallery Chemould, Mumbai (2014); Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2016); Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi (2016); and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi (2020). He has also illustrated several children’s books, such as Gadbad Ghotala (1991) by playwright Safdar Hashmi, and The Walking Stick (2015).
At the time of writing, Suresh lives and works in Hyderabad.
Achar, Deeptha. “Negotiating Visual Fields of the Contemporary.” Critical Collective, 2006. https://criticalcollective.in/ArtistInner2.aspx?Aid=385&Eid=419
“Chronicles of Silence (Khamoshi Ki Dastaan).” Vadehra Art Gallery, 2015. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5645fecae4b086e31e293c1d/t/5ae2db84575d1f4839b78b84/1524816987925/Chronicles_of_Silence.pdf
ML, Johny. “Fault Lines in Pushpamala’s Curatorial Strategy in B.V.Suresh’s Show.” By All Means Necessary (blog), December 5, 2015. http://johnyml.blogspot.com/2015/12/fault-lines-in-pushpamalas-curatorial.html
Menezes, Meera. “B V Suresh.” Artforum, 2016. https://www.artforum.com/print/reviews/201603/b-v-suresh-58158
Mohan, Sathyanand. “B.V. Suresh’s Sculptural Installations at Chemould Art Gallery, 1998.” The Guild, 2009. http://www.guildindia.com/artjournal/Sculptures%20and%20Installations-Jan09/B.V.%20Suresh.htm
News Experts. “BV Suresh’s Biennale Work Questions Censorship by Political Parties,” January 10, 2019. http://www.newsexperts.in/b-v-sureshs-biennale-work-questions-censorship-political-parties/
Nair, Manoj. “Beast’s Comfort.” The Economic Times, October 22, 2006. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/beasts-comfort/articleshow/2226845.cms?from=mdr
Pijnappel, Johan. “Imaging Truth and Desire – Indian Video Art in Video Art in India.” Apeejay Media Gallery, 2003.
Sebastian, Shevlin. “Down the home stretch.” The New Indian Express, December 08, 2018. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2018/dec/08/down-the-home-stretch-1908602.html